The Democrats in the U.S. House are getting ready for hearings on legislation to extend Medicare benefits to all Americans. Representative Pramila Jayapal has introduced and sponsored “Medicare for All,” H.R. 676; the Senate bill to do the same thing is S. 1804. Other proposals are also being brought forward by other lawmakers (see below). Opponents are jumping in to put pressure on lawmakers to defeat legislation on this issue.
Medicare often has a negative reputation in the public mind. People worry about losing access to their own physician, or not being able to choose a physician they prefer, under Medicare, and we’ve all read stories in the press regarding Medicare fraud. But there is a need in this country to provide guaranteed medical care to those who are at risk for not having health insurance. Currently if you are not on Medicare, you have to get health care benefits through purchase of health insurance. Yet if you lose your job, if you work in employment that does not offer health care insurance as a benefit, if you or a loved one is facing enormous health care costs due to catastrophic illness, you are at risk for financial and physical ruin in our current system.
Is Medicare for all a good idea? We’re asking you today to consider challenges with the current health-insurance system and with potential impacts of proposed legislation to change it, so that you can be better informed to express your opinion to lawmakers. Also, Seattle Indivisible, as an organization, is currently weighing what health-care bills to endorse on both the state and national level this year, and you are welcome to reply or email us and with your thoughts!
- There is a huge negative public perception toward a Medicare-only health care system (no private health insurance). This seems to be largely from concerns that the quality of one’s medical care will be eroded if the private insurance system is eliminated.
- As a side note, the MEDICARE-ONLY option has already been defeated multiple times in the past, including under the Clinton Administration and the Obama Administration.
- Public opinion appears to be much more supportive of Medicare IN ADDITION TO the current health insurance system, either by expanding eligibility by age or family situation or other means, or by so-called buy-in options.
- A possible compromise alternative might be to provide significantly expanded Medicare eligibility while keeping the health insurance system.
There are actually several proposals that have been brought forward by lawmakers, including some that expand Medicare to an earlier age level, that offer Medicare through the ACA marketplace, and that propose buy-in options. A run-down of these proposals is here: https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-for-all-and-public-plan-buy-in-proposals-overview-and-key-issues/
ACTION: Tell lawmakers you support guaranteed medical care for all Americans. Bonus: tell your MOCs which plan(s) or considerations you support.
Senator Patty Murray: DC - 202-224-2621 Seattle - 206-553-5545
Senator Maria Cantwell: DC - 202-224-3441 Seattle - 206-220-6400
Rep. Pramila Jayapal: DC - 202-225-3106 Seattle - 206-674-0040
Rep. Adam Smith: DC - 202-225-8901 Renton - 425-793-5180
“Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm a constituent from [CITY, ZIP]. I am very concerned about the situation facing Americans concerning affordable health care. We are a country that should not allow our people to fall short of receiving good care for their health needs. I have read about Medicare-for-All, S. 1804/H.R. 676. I am in favor of providing guaranteed health care benefits to all Americans, but we need to be sure that Medicare, or whatever system is in place, will be effective. We need to be sure that Americans get health care they need, and that proposed legislation to do that will pass Congress this time."
[Bonus] "I am especially concerned about [YOUR CONCERNS HERE]."
Background & more information:
“Medicare-for-All and Public Plan Buy-In Proposals: Overview and Key Issues” - https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-for-all-and-public-plan-buy-in-proposals-overview-and-key-issues/
"Build Your Own ‘Medicare for All’ Plan. Beware: There Are Tough Choices." - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/02/21/upshot/up-medicareforall.html
“Medicare for All: It’s Time for Guaranteed Health Care for Everyone!” - https://www.nationalnursesunited.org/medicare-for-all
"Industry opponents line up to quash Medicare for All" - https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/25/politics/medicare-for-all-opponents/index.html
SEATTLE INDIVISIBLE MEETING
Tuesday, Mar. 5th, 7:00 pm – Seattle Indivisible Meeting (1st & 3rd Tuesdays):
At the Washington State Labor Council in the Central District, 321 16th Avenue. This meeting venue is wheelchair-accessible, and can be reached by King County Metro buses 7, 14, 27, and 106, and the First Hill Streetcar.
RESIST TRUMP TUESDAY RALLY
Tues. Mar. 12th, 11:45 am-1:30 pm - Resist Trump Tuesday Rallies (2nd & 4th Tuesdays):
At the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building, 915 2nd Avenue. The outdoor rally is followed by a meeting inside the Federal Building with Staffers from our lawmakers' offices.